More than 113 million people have Costco memberships, according to the latest data from the wholesale retailer. These loyal shoppers may have encountered some setbacks this year. In September, Costco had to place purchasing limits on some items, effectively curbing its buying-in-bulk model for certain purchases. Then, in November, the company had to pull some Kool-Aid products from its stores after numerous containers were recalled for potentially being contaminated with pieces of metal and glass. Now, the company is sending an important warning to its millions of customers ahead of the Christmas holiday. Read on to find out why Costco is sending out an urgent announcement.
Shipping delays have not been an uncommon occurrence this year, but Costco is now warning customers that these delays will affect the upcoming holiday. According to Reuters, congested ports, a shortage of truck drivers, and a scarcity of raw materials have continued to make it hard on retailers to stock shelves ahead of the holiday shopping season.
And despite many retailers trying to mitigate these issues through different means, like using air freights and ordering products well ahead of time, Costco is still expecting delays for both toys and seasonal items. “Some inventory, in fact, won’t make it before Christmas,” Richard Galanti, Costco’s chief financial officer, confirmed during a Dec. 9 earnings call, per Reuters.
According to Bloomberg, about 79 percent of Costco’s imported containers have been delayed by an average of 51 days. But Galanti touted the company’s work in keeping shelves stocked despite these shipping issues. In fact, the CFO said that Costco’s relatively narrow product selection will give it an advantage in keeping items in stock compared to other companies that sell a wider variety of products.
“We feel pretty good about staying in stock,” Galanti said during the call, per Bloomberg. “Overall, we feel we’ve dealt pretty well with the supply-chain challenges.”
While Costco is admitting to inventory issues ahead of the holidays, other retailers are singing a different tune. Both Target and Walmart recently announced that they plan to have stocked shelves this holiday season, despite supply chain problems. In November, Target said that its inventory levels had increased 20 percent this year compared to last year, per Fox Business. And Walmart CEO Doug McMillion told customers in a video message that the company’s inventory was up 11.5 percent.
“Despite the various macro and industry challenges, our inventory position is good,” Brett Briggs, Walmart’s chief financial officer, said in an earnings call, per Fox Business. He added that the retailer is “off to a good start for the holiday season and in a good position to continue delivering strong results.”
RELATED: For more retail news delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
If you’re doing your holiday shopping via Costco’s online store, you could also face some issues this year. According to a letter posted on the company’s site from its president, Craig Jelinek, “online shopping and shipping volumes are expected to be at an all-time high” during the 2021 holiday season, which might result in some delays. “Small parcel delivery delays are expected,” he wrote, noting that the company is not expecting “big and bulky” items like furniture, grills, mattresses, and appliances to be impacted by delays, however.
“Please know that we will do our part to get your purchases shipped to you quickly and efficiently,” Jelinek added. “We will strive to give you accurate estimates of delivery times before you place your order, display regular updates on our website, and provide easy access to your order’s tracking information … Should we encounter any unexpected issues after you order, we will email you.”